Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Walls/Obstructions: If Walls Could Talk


purchase [ Paradise and Lunch  ]

I find myself pre-disposed to prefer the Ry Cooder version of this because that's where I first heard it (and the version I, myself, play in open-D tuning). And because I have posted again and again and again and ... songs by Ry Cooder. My first SMM guest post as a possible SMM writer included a reference to Ry.

Ry Cooder fully credits Bobby Miller (of course he would) on his '74 album Paradise and Lunch, but I never dug deeper into the story of the song. Now that I have, I see that there was much that I missed. I knew that Ry regularly focuses on music that is at the roots of contemporary pop/rock. But without that exploration, I have been missing some great music.

Miller, known as a producer and songwriter, doesn't appear to have left a recording of himself performing the song. Me, I find it hard to imagine that a songwriter didn't also play the song in some version himself, but we'll have to rely on the version he first produced for/with Little Milton back in the '60s. I assume it was what he himself might have played - if in fact he played an instrument. I can also see what might have attracted Ry Cooder to come up with his own rendition. "It's the same old song .." but with a different beat. The original Little Milton version was released on the Checker label, a subsidiary of Chess records.

The notion behind the lyrics is certainly not new. What goes on behind closed doors that the walls could tell us about if only they could speak is a theme as old as ... well... the hills that could also tell a lot of stories. There's a peepin' tom side to it as well as an element of eternal truth about the human condition.

Geraint Watkins and the Dominators have a version

as does Koko Taylor

Here's a version by Dr Feelgood

And another from Duke Robillard that harkens back kind of to the original by Little Milton (at least in the strumming intro)

Oh, yes, and there's also a band of the same name

blog comments powered by Disqus